Apps appstorescreenshot

Published on December 5th, 2013 | by John



The relatively new topic of App Store Optimization (ASO) is causing some buzz and lead to new businesses opening up like Sensortower, gamechangers and appcodes. As a company founder and Executiver Producer of two worldwide successful apps (Nighty Night!, Little Fox Music Box for my ex-company shape minds) with more than 3 million downloads I’d like to share my experience with ASO and the Apple App Store.
Being a developer with almost no budget to promote an app release App Store and Keyword Optimization is essential to make sure you’ve got all chances to get found. It can’t replace a great app concept but still it is necessary to understand the basic parameters.
As I am running now, an app search engine, we sometimes see apps being hidden in the crowd and not even popping up when the search term seems to be 100% matching. So let’s go through a list of parameters.

1. App title
Of course it helps to put the main keyword in the title. “puzzle” for example. But it might destroy your cool brand feeling. According to MobileDevHQ having the main keyword in the title boosts your sale up to 10%.

2. App description
Put great reviews or App Store selections (App of the week) on top of your description. People get attracted by awards and great reviews first, then will read further into the description. Put all keywords that come to your head and match your app content into your description. The search algorithms rate app title highest, then category, then app description.
Essential: Write a long app description text. You might think that no one will read this all the way and you are right. But it is good for app search engines. Include keywords more than once that you think are relevant to describe your app. If you make an app for kids add “kids, toddler, babies, preschool” whenever it fits. If you make a travel app include ALL cities this app works in. It might look like a long, pointless list but who cares. On knicket you’ll be listed for every city it works in and that counts.
Include the category you are in. If you make a game specify the “gamer” subcategory you want to be listed in: “point and click adventure”. Gamers are searching more like this. Add “great”, “time killing” or similar attributes even if it sounds ridicoulous to you. Think about how you search for apps in google. Write down everything that comes to your mind and fits you app. Repeat yourself if you think some keywords need to be strengthened.

3. Choose the right category
Our Little Fox Music Box was first in the music category. We had no chance of visibilty since the music genre is full of high selling drum machines, audio players and more hightech products than kids entertainment. It just wouldn’t fit in terms of design and could not never reach the top ten due to heavy competition. When we changed the main category to “books” it turned out that with our sales numbers we could reach top ranks. That of course also shows that books is quite weak category in terms of total sale numbers.

4. App promotion
We always spent 1000 $ to promote each app. We used the automatized service of PRMAC and a specialized agency like To give away that amount of money always hurts a small developer but it will give you a lot of backlinks in blogs and online magazines. If your app is being liked people will review your app and promote your product. In our experience the money was always well invested.

5. Apple developer relations manager
Try to find out about your local apple developer relations manager and the local app store manager. Keep him updated about your product development with specific schedules about your product release and PR campaign (if there is any). Keep him posted weeks before you do all these so he can plan internal promo campaigns. Never put pressure on these guys or mailbomb him. They won’t appreciate aggressive marketing.

6. Getting featured by Apple
If you are lucky and get picked by Apple you will see the sales/download numbers going through the roof. This shows clearly how weak the app world and the app marketing effect is outside the app stores. That makes every decision even harder for indepenendent app developers how to spend money for promotion. Before we got featured by Apple with our Nighty Night! app we ranked on 100 in the paid books section after our promotion. When the Apple promo started we ranked on 1!

After all your app needs to be great of course otherwise all ASO will be useless. But I hope you got some insights from my brief article.

About the Author


Apps lover, Tech and Movie fan. I created the "Nighty Night" HD and "Little Fox Music Box" Apps with my Team. My Role: CEO / Executive Producer

Back to Top ↑